We all know how hard a ruler’s life is in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. Heck, you can have a hard time even if you are a lord on someone else’s kingdom. But that can be made easier by hiring the best soldiers there are in Calradia. So without further ado, let’s explore the best soldiers in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord.
Why get the best army?
Getting the best soldiers in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord won’t immediately make you the ruler of all kingdoms, but it will certainly get you a little closer to that goal.
A great army means battles will be easier to win. Winning battles means increasing Influence and Renown. And increasing those two will increase the likelihood of other lords and kings accepting you as a ruler. If that isn’t enough reason for you to start looking for the best army, then I don’t know what is.
I know you want to just pull out your wallet and buy yourself the best soldiers out there, but let’s face the facts: when you start the game, you don’t have that kind of money.
That means we have to start low. But Bannerlord has brought a new feature to help you recruit the most promising soldiers, even if they were recruited from villages.
How to choose the best village soldiers
Whenever you reach a village or any other sort of settlement, you have the option to place your mouse on top of an NPC. Doing this will show you the NPC’s power. It might say “powerful” or “influential”. The idea here is to always pick the powerful ones.
This game is a lot more than conquering castles and towns. You need a certain degree of class and charm to make a living in Calradia. In fact, sometimes you will want to recruit high-tier troops from settlements but won’t be able to do it before you improve your relationship with the settlement.
There are several ways to do that. First, you can complete their quests, which are usually very easy to do. You can wait for the opportunity to save their settlements from looters and other hostile parties and, if the settlement already belongs to you, you can set high security on the settlement. This will make them feel safer and therefore more inclined to help you out.
Leveling the low-level soldiers
Now that you’ve recruited your soldiers, it’s time to level them up, so they can get more powerful and be more useful to you. But how to do it? Well, the battlefield is the best place to do it. Try to find groups of looters – their skills are balanced with your own party’s skills, plus they give out a decent amount of loot.
Just keep in mind that battles in Bannerlord are now much more realistic, meaning harder than in Warband. Once they’ve leveled enough, you can start attacking enemy caravans and even lords. But beware of your social standing with the enemy’s faction, as you might be getting yourself into an unwanted war.
Running low on money but need troops ASAP? Well, have you thought of hiring your prisoners? You can’t recruit them right as you catch them, but wait a while and the option will appear. You won’t be able to recruit hundreds of prisoners, but some will be willing to join your party.
Keep in mind that recruiting prisoners might not work well with your companions, and they might just show you how much they resent your decision.
Pro tip: Whenever possible, prioritize imprisoning high-tier soldiers. They are better fighters and you won’t pay as much for them as you would if you had hired them on a town bar.
Once you’ve got enough coin, you can then move on to high-tier troops. Let’s explore them.
Northern, Western and Southern Empire
There are 3 Roman empire factions and all share very similar troop units. And I can tell you right now, that this empire has some of the best heavy infantry troops (Legionary, Menavliaton and Triarii) and great ranged troops (Palatine Guards and Sergeant Crossbowmen). But their absolute best troop units are the Imperial Elite Cataphracts. They are crazy heavy-armored beasts with ridiculously good fighting skills.
The Battanians are fairly good folk, but other than the Battanian Fian Champions, none really stand out.
These champions use longbows and are, in my humble opinion, one of the best ranged infantry. They go hand to hand with the Palatine Guards and Sergeant Crossbowmen, combat-wise.
On the west side of the map, you will find the Vlandian kingdom. They are incredibly powerful against cavalry. I mean, if you are looking for an anti-cavalry unit, then you’ll find the best one in Vlandia, the so-called Vlandian Vouldiers. Better yet, they also possess the Banner Knights, which is a very OP heavy cavalry unit.
Looking to reincarnate the Nordic spirit? The Sturgians are Viking-looking warriors with not one, not two, but three awesome troop units. We’re talking the heavy cavalry unit Druzhinnik Champions, the two-hand-wielding Ulfhednar, and the anti-infantry Sturgian Veteran Champions.
The incredible desert lords have my absolute favorite unit: the Vanguard Faris. The Vanguard Faris is a special heavy cavalry unit that specializes in throwing javelins. How cool is that?
The nomadic tribesman of Khuzaits are all about fast-paced strikes, with their Heavy Lancers, Heavy Horse Archers and Darkhan. You even have the Khuzaits Khan’s Guard, which rock ass, firing their arrows on horseback at long distance before moving in with polearms to seal the deal.
Choosing the best army composition
OK, so you have the best soldiers in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, now you have to learn to use them. Battles in Bannerlord are not about having a bigger number than the enemy. Granted, owning a larger enemy helps, but there is so much more to it. You could have an army twice as big as your enemy’s, but if you lack the right strategy, you still might end up losing the battle.
From my experience, I’d say you will always want a decent frontline troop. It doesn’t have to be made of the best elite soldiers out there, but they need to be able to hold the line and keep your enemies in one spot.
When your vanguard troops have clashed with the enemy’s, you can then send your cavalry units to flank the enemy from other sides, closing them in. They will have little room to move around.
This is the part where having long-range troops comes in handy. Once your enemies are restricted to a small area, your archers and crossbowmen can focus on that spot. The enemy will be taking on heavy fire and it will be much easier to engage.